August 19, 2016

Ch√Ęteau de Saint Cosme - Pre-Order

We are pleased to present our annual offering from the historic Château de Saint Cosme in Gigondas

Order deadline is Wednesday 31 August for delivery in November - Reply to this email or call 416-693-7994 to order.


A Note from Anne & Rob

We realize that there is a lot of text here. Please take the time to read it, as St. Cosme (pronounced St. Comb) is not only a benchmark estate in the Southern Rhône, it is one of the oldest, most historic estates in all of France. As you will read below, the Barroul family has owned the estate since before the discovery of North America. We are very fortunate to get a (very) small allocation each year, and these are great, collectible, age-worthy wines by any measure. For once, as you’ll see below, the press are also remarkably in tune – reviews on the wines are consistent among the critics and across the range of wines.


Comment from winemaker/proprietor Louis Barroul:

Located in the heart of the Gigondas appellation, Saint Cosme is an historic estate of a unique kind. Its Gallo-Roman winery, with its fermentation tanks hewn into the rock, has successfully withstood the test of time unscathed. It gives us a precise idea of how our close ancestors, the Gallo-Romans, must have lived. Acquired by our family in 1490, the property has been home to fifteen generations of wine growers. It boasts 25 hectares of old vines whose average age is 60 and yields are diminutive. The soils of Saint Cosme are a geological mosaic brought about by the upheaval of the Dentelles de Montmirail. They are located at the point where two geological faults meet and the microclimate is cool and causes late ripening. Balance, freshness and finesse characterise our wines.

Saint Cosme chapel, located in the heart of our vineyards, is a jewel of Romanesque art. Built in the 11th and 12th centuries, it mirrors the purity of Romanesque art with its sobriety, simple lines and balanced spaces. Its majesty lights up our vineyards and exudes an atmosphere of peace. It fully deserves the short walk leading up to it. We show our devotion to Saint Cosme by striving to maximise the extraordinary potential of its soils and old vines. Time-honoured wisdom, biodynamic viticulture and an understanding of the soils are our guiding lights.

By 1972, my father, Henri Barruol, was already convinced that organic wine growing served a purpose. He used it in deference to his vineyards, to produce environmentally friendly wines and protect the eco-system in the vale of Saint Cosme, particularly its bird population. His belief was based on common sense at a time when wines were sold in casks. We continue such vital work, using no weed killers, chemical fertilisers, pesticides or synthetic products. Hoeing and tillage are used in all our vineyards. Our ecosystem is dynamic and balanced and our soils are living.

In 1997, I drew on this wine growing background to create a merchant wine business that combines a wine growing perspective with classic shipping. On my travels around the Rhone, I got the impression that top quality wine areas were still underdeveloped, unrecognised or neglected. Some places appealed to me and made me want to try my hand. So I chose to become a wine merchant in the old-fashioned sense of the word, basically shipping wines with the mindset of a wine grower. This implied seeking out the spirit of soils and vineyards, working painstakingly with small batch fermentations, advancing hand in hand with wine growers who love what they do, transporting my wines in casks so as not to damage them and trying to add that special touch to each day.

At Saint Cosme, we do as many jobs as possible by hand. I like to make wines that show pure, precise sense of place – wines that have personality and balance. I want them to have the propensity to age.


The Wines:

Château de Saint Cosme 2014 Gigondas
Retail:  $54.95/btl  (6 btl/cs)

92 points – James Molesworth, Wine Spectator
“Sports solid, charcoal-edged grip from the get-go, with roasted alder and savory notes forming a robust frame around the chewy-edged currant, plum and bitter cherry paste flavors. The long, dark, smoldering finish lets the woodsy and herb accents stride through. Shows the cool-weather profile of the vintage. Best from 2018 through 2024.”

(90-92) points – Josh Raynolds, (May 2016)
“Brilliant ruby. Smoky cherry, boysenberry and potpourri scents show very good clarity and pick up a spicy quality with aeration. Intense red and blue fruit flavors are complicated by a floral pastille nuance. Finishes on a gently tannic note, delivering very good energy and spicy thrust. All of the Valbelle fruit was included in this bottling in 2014.”

(89-91) points – Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate (March 2016)
“Checking in as a blend of 65% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre and 15% Syrah, the 2014 Gigondas is a rock solid effort in a difficult vintage. Offering the classic graphite, camphor, mineral and darker fruit that's the hallmark of this estate, it's medium to full-bodied, nicely concentrated and has a tight, backwards, age-worthy feel. Give bottles 3-4 years of cellaring and drink through 2029.
Louis Barruol’s Chateau de Saint Cosme continues to be the reference point estate in Gigondas; Gigondas--and Grenache for that matter--doesn’t get much better than his single vineyard releases from parcels located just around his estate. The winemaking here is traditional, with no de-stemming and aging occurring all in older barrels. While the upper tier wines can be tannic and difficult to understand in their youth, they age beautifully, normally starting to show nicely around age 6-7 and then evolving gracefully going forward. In addition to his Gigondas and Côtes du Rhône releases, Barruol continues to make wines from the northern Rhône as well, and I’ve included all of his currently releases here.”

Château de Saint Cosme 2014 Gigondas ‘Le Claux’
Retail:  $128.95/btl  (6 btl/cs)

94 points – James Molesworth, Wine Spectator
“Intense, with lots of grip along the edges, as rosemary, tobacco and charcoal notes coil around the core of steeped plum, blackberry and red currant fruit. The long finish has a racy, minerally underpinning despite the heft. Shows terrific precision to the rusticity here. Best from 2018 through 2024.”

(92-94) points – Josh Raynolds, (May 2016)
“Vivid ruby-red. Highly perfumed red fruit liqueur, potpourri and Asian spice scents show impressive clarity and vivacity. Sappy, tangy and precise, offering lively raspberry and floral pastille flavors and a touch of spicecake. Closes on a smoky mineral note, displaying superb focus, silky tannins and emphatic, floral-driven persistence.”

(92-94) points – Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate (March 2016)
“The most mineral-driven in the lineup, the 2014 Gigondas le Claux is almost 100% Grenache, and was fermented with 100% stems and aged in Burgundy barrels. Freshly crushed rocks, black currants, forest floor and truffle notes all flow beautifully to a medium to full-bodied, layered, sexy and nicely concentrated Gigondas that has enough fruit to drink well on release, yet the structure, balance and depth to evolve for 10-15 years. It's an undeniable success in the vintage.”

Château de Saint Cosme 2014 Gigondas ‘Hominis Fides’
Retail:  $128.95/btl  (6 btl/cs)

93 points – James Molesworth, Wine Spectator
“Juicy and well-built, with dark sage, savory and tobacco notes weaving around the core of blackberry and black currant fruit, picking up charcoal and roasted alder accents through the finish. The fruit lends this a slightly forward edge, but there's no rush here. Best from 2017 through 2024.”

(91-93) points – Josh Raynolds, (May 2016)
“Deep ruby. Powerful, smoke-accented aromas of dark berries and incense, complicated by suave floral pastille and woodsmoke nuances. Fleshy and deeply concentrated, showing impressive depth to the densely packed red and blue fruit flavors, which are lifted by juicy acidity. The smoky note repeats on a youthfully tannic finish that shows impressive energy, power and thrust.”

(92-94+) points – Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate (March 2016)
“What will mostly likely end up being the wine of the vintage is the 2014 Gigondas Hominis Fides. From a single vineyard located just down the hill from the estate, fermented with 100% whole clusters and aged all in Burgundy barrels, it offers sensational notes of crushed rock, graphite, dried rose petals and licorice in a medium to full-bodied, elegant, seamless style that hides considerable tannic grip. It's a beautiful wine that will still be drinking nicely in 2034.”

Château de Saint Cosme 2014 Gigondas ‘Le Poste’
Retail:  $128.95/btl  (6 btl/cs)

95 points – James Molesworth, Wine Spectator
“This has a succulent edge despite the vintage profile, with lovely raspberry, plum and boysenberry coulis flavors stretching out, picking up dried star anise, lightly singed alder and perfumy black tea notes. The long, fine-grained structure and lovely minerality linger through the finish. Shows remarkable refinement for the vintage. Drink now through 2024.”

(92-94) points – Josh Raynolds, (May 2016)
“Bright ruby-red. Intense red berry preserve, incense and floral pastille scents are sharpened by suggestions of smoky minerals and white pepper. Sweet, penetrating and vibrant, offering concentrated raspberry and bitter cherry flavors and a suave spicecake nuance. Shows excellent clarity and lift on the finish, which is firmed by silky tannins and a repeating mineral note.”

(92-94) points – Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate (March 2016)
“The most pretty, elegant and finesse-driven of the single vineyard releases, the 2014 Gigondas le Poste offers more floral notes as well as ample cassis, violets and cracked pepper. From a terraced vineyard located just beside the estate, I love its tannin quality, as well as its purity of fruit, perfect balance and clean, lengthy finish. I always find slightly less concentration and density in this cuvee, yet more purity and finesse, and this holds true in 2014 as well.”

Saint Cosme 2014 Crozes-Hermitage
Retail:  $39.95/btl  (12 btl/cs)

(91-93) points – Josh Raynolds, (March 2016)
“Bright violet. Lively, mineral-laced dark berry aromas are complicated by hints of floral oils and peppery spices. Silky and seamless on the palate, offering gently sweet black raspberry and violet pastille flavors that become deeper and fleshier with air. Sappy and graceful in character, closing with strong thrust and silky tannins.”

(87-89) points – Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate (March 2016)
“The 2014 Crozes Hermitage comes all from hillside vineyards and shows plenty of potential in what was a difficult year for the appellation. Blackberries, pepper and violet notes all emerge from this medium-bodied, elegant effort, and it has more in common with a high quality St. Joseph than a Crozes Hermitage. Already upfront and perfumed, it should drink nicely right out of the gate.”

Saint Cosme 2013 Châteauneuf du Pape
Retail:  $69.95/btl  (6 btl/cs)

(92-93) points – Josh Raynolds, (April 2016)
“Deep ruby. An expressive bouquet evokes red fruit liqueur, incense and spicecake and a smoky mineral element adds energy. Silky, concentrated and energetic, offering intense, spice-laced raspberry and cola flavors firmed by a spine of juicy acidity. Concentrated but graceful wine that finishes very long, spicy and gently tannic. Note that this wine was not in bottle when I visited Barruol in February.”

(89-91+) points – Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate (March 2016)
“Still in barrel (it will see roughly two years in barrel), the 2013 Chateauneuf du Pape comes mostly from the La Crau plateau and is 50% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre and the rest an even split of Syrah and Cinsault. Fermented with 100% stems, this medium to full-bodied effort offers tons of black and blue fruits, ground pepper, violets and wet rock-like aromas and flavors. Beautifully textured, it plays nicely in the cooler nature of the vintage, has solid mid-palate density and will have 10-15 years of overall longevity.  Drink 2017-2028”